SportPesa’s CEO Rejects Rumors that Betting Company Set to Resume Kenyan Operations by the End of June

Ronald Karauri, CEO of SportPesa, has ended the rumors that the gambling operator is set to resume its operations in Kenya by the end of the month, which occurred after a post claiming that the country’s government has provided the company with permission to return became viral on Twitter.

Mr. Karauri, however, dismissed the information included in the tweet describing it as fake news.

This is not the first time when the gambling company’s boss has replied to rumors regarding various issues that the betting operator has faced on social media. In February 2020, he got involved in an exchange with Donald Kipkorir, a city lawyer, after Everton football club officially announced its decision to put an end to SportPesa’s sponsorship contract. At the time, the English Premier League (EPL) club revealed that the decision was reached after it thoroughly reviewed its commercial strategies in line with its plans for future growth.

The football club explained that it had to make a difficult decision but ending its sponsorship agreement with SportPesa would allow it to best deliver on its commercial plan and take advantage of the new opportunities opening to Everton. During the partnership between the football club and the gambling company, Everton’s first team has visited Africa on two occasions, and club staff members took part in various events in the region, leaving the EPL club’s footprint there.

The FAI and Everton FC Terminate Their Sponsorship Contracts with SportPesa

SportPesa has been the main sponsor of Everton FC since 2017, with the football club expected to appoint a new main sponsor at its place ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season.

At the time when the termination of the SportPesa sponsorship deal was announced by Everton, Mr. Kipkorir used Twitter to provoke the gambling operator’s CEO to respond. He wrote that after Ireland, England had become the next highly-developed country that has decided to tighten measures associated with gambling on sports, while betting activities in Kenya take over a constantly growing number of local people. The lawyer wanted to highlight the massive scale that gambling is having in Kenya at a time when an EPL club moved to end its dealings with the gambling company.

By saying this, Mr. Kipkorir reminded that earlier in 2020, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) also put an end to its two-year sponsorship deal with SportPesa following harsh criticism from anti-gambling campaigners who accused the country’s sports body of improperly promoting betting. The FAI terminated the deal less than a year after the sponsorship agreement was announced.

SportPesa’s CEO responded at the time reminding that in the UK there are gambling companies that are even larger, and as such, they generate larger revenue not only for themselves but for the country, too.

The broken sponsorship agreements with the FAI and Everton FC was just another blow for SportPesa after the Government of Kenya rejected its request to have its betting license renewed in 2019 following concerns associated with the rapid increase in problem gambling rates and tax compliance issues.